Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• Your Hart Trophy finalists for MVP: Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin, Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk and Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin. No Steve Mason, no Zach Parise. We'll have a reaction piece up after our 1 p.m. EST super mega chat with SB Nation's James Mirtle. Check it out, won't you?
• In lieu of apocalyptic prophecies from the Canadian media, actual news about the Phoenix Coyotes from the Arizona Republic: "The NHL has loaned money to the Coyotes to keep the financially troubled franchise operating, but if the team fails to pay its debt the league can take the club over." This loan features additional funds that go beyond the "advances" on revenue sharing the League has already sent Phoenix's way. Why do we suddenly have visions of Shane Doan at a garage sale with a $5 tag on him, discounted to $4? [AZ Republic]
• The TV schedules for the Stanley Cup conference semifinals are out, including CBC's plans and your exclusive Versus games, in which there's no local television coverage (in the exclusive games) but 100 percent more Brian Engblom wit and wisdom. As Steve Lepore points out, NBC chooses golf over hockey, and "In case you're wondering, that Wings/Ducks Game 5 (The 5:00 PM one) isn't airing on VERSUS because that network will be airing IndyCar qualifying." Hoorah! [Puck The Media]
• The way things worked out for Gary Bettman would make Vince McMahon proud. [Gross Misconduct]
• Bangin Panger was in the Verizon Center last night, and captured this hilarious Jersey Foul on a New York Rangers fan. In fairness, Jon Bon Jovi technically grew up in Central Jersey, which is where Rangers, Devils and Flyers fans converge. But we all know Tico Torres is No. 1 when it comes to the Jovi. [Bangin Panger]
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Breaking down one of the biggest breakdowns in recent Stanley Cup playoffs history; a.k.a. how the New Jersey Devils went from Round 2 to golf in 1:20. [Fire & Ice]
• Meanwhile, since "he was tired" has been taken out of the equation, what exactly will be the excuse for Martin Brodeur for giving up two goals, including a very stoppable shot against Jussi Jokinen? [Josh Q]
• We'll say this about Devils fans: classy. Even after he scores the game-winning goal, Eric Staal is told he's No. 1 in their hearts. [850 The Buzz, NSFW]
• James Neal of the Dallas Stars takes a stick to the eye and will miss the rest of the world championships. [Stars Blog]
• Meanwhile, Anton Volchenkov may have injured his foot blocking the shot of Ottawa Senators teammate Christoph Schubert in world. [Sun Media]
• Chris Drury played his six games New York Rangers/Washington Capitals series with a broken hand. As you may have noticed. [NY Post]
• Comparing the postseasons for Simeon Varlamov and Cam Ward during his run to the Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes. JP keeps smacking us for not having Varly in the Conn Smythe conversation. Bottom line is that Alexander Semin has eight points, five goals and a game-winner; and while Varlamov has played very well and made every save he's needed to, there really hasn't been much thievery in his postseason performance. Yet. [Japers' Rink]
• Damien Cox on Alexander Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby. [Toronto Star]
• Meanwhile, the Toronto Star writes an "all is well" NHL playoff attendance article without mentioning how attendance is counted or reported publicly. [Star]
• Thanks to Puck Buddy Addison H. for sending over the above screen grab from ESPN.com last night, which is clearly also getting its scores from that dude who told them Mike Green had been suspended.
• Justin Bourne's blog on The Hockey News continues to be killer, as he takes on the concept of "post-whistle tough guys" and how they wilt in the playoffs. [THN]
• Detroit Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock still has the back of former assistant and San Jose Sharks Coach Todd McLellan: "I've been there and done that, it's not a great feeling. It's a sick feeling all summer long. And yet, Todd and his staff prepared their team really well and did what they could." Which ended up being less than what Ron Wilson could. [Snapshots]
• Breaking down the possibilities for the Philadelphia Flyers in goal. [Courier Post]
• Terrific concept and execution by Mike Chen: Guess the San Jose Sharks or Calgary Flames conciliatory quote. Example: "This was the best team, no question. The organization gave us the opportunity to go deep and to win and we didn't get it done." [Chen]
• If Mike Keenan can't motivate a team, perhaps there's no need for Mike Keenan to be coaching said team any longer. [Sun Media]
• Finally, Ted Leonsis eats out with Lindsay Czarniak. That plane crash story remains incredible.